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Implementation May Remain Biggest Challenge For National Health Policy

The draft proposals are well articulated but the challenge lies in the implementation of the policy, says Sujay Shetty, leader of pharmaceuticals and life sciences at consultancy PwC India

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Government is all set to make you part of its universal healthcare coverage plan under which you will be eligible to get free drugs, free diagnostics, free emergency and essential healthcare services in public hospitals across India.

Thanks to the National Health Policy 2017, whose decision was pending since last two years. The policy, on lines of Obamacare, proposes to increase life expectancy from 67.5 to 70 years by 2025. The policy also looks at reforms in the existing regulatory systems both for easing manufacturing of drugs and devices to promote make in India, as also for reforming medical education.

However, wait before you cheer. “The targets given in the policy are impressive but we already had the targets. It must include the sustainable goals based on WHO guidelines such as targets for reducing cardiology problems, targets for reducing diabetes on yearly basis,” suggested Dr. Anoop Misra, chairman at Fortis C-Doc Healthcare. “Also, people in remote areas should be educated enough to understand the importance of doses like immunisation. Without education, every scheme will fail.”

Also, government has to ensure that the timely and effective execution of policy, health experts warn. "The challenge for the government will be to execute these schemes in Ties II and III towns where there is acute shortage of healthcare services, including shortage of well-equipped infrastructure, trained medical staff and availability of medicines and implants," said Dr. Anand Bansal, medical director at Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute.

Though union heath minister, JP Nadda, has envisaged on a time-bound implementation with clear deliverable and milestones to achieve the policy goals while unveiling the National Health Policy in Lok Sabha on Wednesday, experts are still uncertain about the effective implementation.

"The draft proposals are very well articulated. However, the challenge lies in the implementation of the policy. At policy level, we are master in getting the things right, however, we have clearly failed in implementing the policies," said Sujay Shetty, leader of pharmaceuticals and life sciences at consultancy PwC India.

Apollo Hospitals, country’s largest healthcare chain’s executive vice chairperson Shobana Kamineni tweeted: “We at Apollo salute this and assure that we will help make it a reality.” She welcome the move by tagging PM Narendra Modi.

RK Sharma, medical superintendent at multi-speciality hospital, Pushpawati Singhania Research Institute, echoed the similar concern. "The policy will widen the dimensions with an aim to strengthen primary health centres and district hospitals. The only roadblock is to reach everyone in the country, especially the poorest of the lot".

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